Wednesday, July 23, 2008

On Arguing

" Any clod can have facts, but having opinions is an art. "

- Charles McCabe

Reasoning, tested by doubt, is argumentation. We do it, hear it and judge it every day. We do it in our own minds, and we do it with others. What is effective reasoning ? And how can it be done persuasively ? These questions have been asked for a thousand years.

I was having a friendly argument years ago with a friend, and no matter what I said was like talking to a brick wall . . simply because that person had already made up his mind and had a rebuttal BEFORE I made the statement yet to be uttered. It was that moment I remembered what someone almost told me ( by his actions ): " DON'T CONFUSE ME WITH THE FACTS. "

What I learned from this and from a couple of seminars I attended when I had my business, was . . you must make sure that the person you are arguing with is in a RECEPTIVE mode at the time you are presenting your side. Otherwise it is fruitless.

It's good to remember that argumentation is mostly a social and cooperative enterprise by which we find truth and resolve conflict.

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